Friday, September 3, 2010


yesterday I rode around summit and wasatch counties, following bill and clocking eighty-six miles. it was all familiar; I've ridden every bit of the path before, though not all together as the route was organized yesterday.
what was different is that we rode it backwards from the way I usually ride most of it.
first of all, this was a little mental stumbling block to cross before I even began riding.
no, this isn't the way we go! wait, will this give me enough elevation gain? can't we go the other way, somehow, won't it work better? susan's brain screams at her.
I told myself to calm down, that it would all work out, that bill's plan would be just fine.
but part of me was scrunching up its little shoulders, grimacing, anticipating disaster.

I have become a terrific creature of habit.

I don't even ride that neck of the woods very often, so I'm unsure of why I feel so addicted to a certain pattern of riding when there. but apparently I do. and yesterday we changed from our traditional counter-clockwise pattern to a clockwise pattern, and after I released my anxiety about it all and got into the rhythm of it, I experienced one of those amazing things that happens when your perspective is shifted: I saw things differently.
mostly because I was seeing them from the north instead of the south, or the west instead of the east, but still, the landscape changed.
I saw houses I'd never before seen, because they hid behind copses of trees or hills or other natural barriers on the side I'd always approached them from. I experienced inclines and descents from the opposite direction, and gained a new perspective on their realities. certain stretches felt much longer than ever before, and other stretches flew by.
it was eye-opening.

and this is the piece that tells me I need to keep working on me: I was initially resistant to this backwards route. why do I do this? do I simply crave the comfort of what is known? was I just fearful that this change in direction would result in a route that was not challenging enough? do I just think and analyze too much? why do I have to do this to myself?

I had a great day yesterday, a great ride, an easy-ish spin around farmland and nothing land and a big, beautiful reservoir, with a hillside stop for an incredible view of the heber valley. the weather moved from oh-so-chilly to absolutely perfect, the company was grand, the bananas of perfect ripeness, and the perspective backwards and thus incredibly enlightening.

PS: had to look up the origin of the phrase "neck of the woods," because it's really quite peculiar if you stop to think about it. apparently it's an Americanism, developed early on in our heritage, used initially to describe a settlement in a stretch of forested land. apparently we Americans were trying to separate ourselves from the British, coming up with new names for our inhabited areas. instead of moors, dells, and heaths, we chose to call things forks, branches, and necks. and this, folks, is your tidbit of info for the day.

No comments: